Florida Editorial: Arguing the Heartland (Parkway) of the matter

It would be no small irony if conservative politicians and business leaders were able to use environmental fretting as the rationale to introduce new development into one great swath of largely unspoiled Florida.

But we may be headed there.

The Polk County Commission is aligning behind a revival of the Heartland Parkway, The Ledger has reported. The project is a proposed 110- to 150-mile, multibillion-dollar toll road that, as the name implies, would carve through the ranches and citrus groves in the rural heart of central southern Florida to connect the Gulf Coast south of Fort Myers to Interstate 4.

The controversial highway has been an on-again-off-again venture since the 1980s, predictably pitting developers against environmentalists. With state Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, now running the Senate, environmentalists are worried, and developers encouraged.